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Board of County Commissioners

September 24, 2002

The Honorable Board of County Commissioners met today with the following present: Larry B. Beck, W. Michael Newnam, and Ronald H. Fithian, presiding.

T. Edward Robinson, County Administrator, was also in attendance.

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, reported a balance of $2,423,071.00.


Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, reported that Maryland received the second largest Farmland Preservation Grant in the nation and Kent County will receive approximately $115, 000 toward the purchase of agricultural easements.


Commissioner Fithian reported that all information is now available to make an educated decision on the airport project, however, in light of changes to the Board of Commissioners as a result of the primary election, the Board believes that any decision relating to proceeding with the airport project should be made by the next Board of Commissioners.


Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, appeared to report on the September 23, 2002 Board of Zoning Appeals meeting.


As requested, Commissioners Fithian and Beck, Ed Robinson, County Administrator, and Pat Merritt, Director, Budget and Accounting, attended a work session on September 23 with the Board of Education to review the proposed Capital Improvement Plan for Fiscal year 2004.


The Commissioners received correspondence from Verizon Public Communications advising that the pay telephone located at the Court House did not generate the minimum revenue/usage requirements and service would be discontinued. Verizon offered to convert the telephone service to custom pay phone service with a $75.00 monthly service fee. The County Administrator advised on his intentions to discuss the matter with Circuit Court Judge J. Frederick Price and District Court Judge Floyd Parks to assess the need for a pay phone at the Court House.


Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services, appeared to report on the following issues:

Tolchester Service Area - In follow-up from last week, Mr. Morris provided response letters to Mr. Grimes and Mr. and Mrs. Geary relating to their request for allocations.

Millington Water and Wastewater Expansion Project - Mr. Morris advised that six contractors obtained construction bid information and four contractors attended the pre-bid meeting. He reported that the contractors requested the calculation of construction commencement be changed to allow for the finalization of construction drawings.

Mr. Morris advised of his plans to have the contractor contact each homeowner to select the location of the grinder pump and video the area to ensure homeowner compliance.

Quaker Neck Service Area - Commissioner Newnam inquired as to the status of the request for allocations. Mr. Morris advised of his interpretation of the Chestertown Mayor and Council meeting confirmed the County's nine allocations were still current and to be disposed of by the County. Commissioner Beck stated that Chestertown Mayor and Council amended the Charter not to allow any more allocations. Mr. Morris stated he believed the amended Charter related to outside of Town limits. He further related than if there were a number of allocation requests, the Chestertown wastewater plant, already scheduled for an upgrade, could be upgraded to accept additional requests for allocations. The Commissioners felt it important to schedule a meeting with the Chestertown Mayor and Council to receive their comments and input on this issue.


At 10:45 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Beck, seconded by Commissioner Fithian, and passed by the majority of the Board to go into executive session with Ernest S. Cookerly, County Attorney, for legal counsel in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

Items of review included Memorandum of Understanding submitted by Chestertown Library, Inc.

The executive session adjourned at 11:10 a.m.



In follow-up from September 10, Commissioner Fithian advised that the generous donation from the Chestertown Library, Inc., should be directed to the County so that the project may commence. Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, could begin assisting in seeking architectural services. It was agreed for the Public Library to spearhead the project with assistance from the Public Works Department.


As a result of the review of the nominations received, the Maryland You Are Beautiful Local Committee, consisting of Millington Mayor Dennis Hager, Margaret Briscoe, and Rosalie Kuechler, selected Terri Mullikin as Kent County's Most Outstanding Volunteer for 2002 as part of the "Maryland You Are Beautiful" Program. At the invitation of the Commissioners, Mrs. Mullikin appeared to be formally recognized. Others in attendance were: her husband, Jeff Mullikin, Dr. Bonnie Ward, Superintendent of Schools, Joan Buffone, Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Terry Honeywell, who nominated Mrs. Mullikin, Floraine B. Applefeld, Director of the "Maryland You Are Beautiful" Office, and Janice Fletcher, "Maryland You Are Beautiful" Local Coordinator, as well as fifteen interested persons and members of the media.

Commissioner Fithian read the Certificate of Appreciation recognizing Mrs. Mullikin for her volunteer service as a member of the Red Cross and Girl Scouts. He also read the nomination written by Mrs. Honeywell delineating Mrs. Mullikin's many volunteer activities and attributes.

Ms. Applefeld thanked the Commissioners for their support of this program and gave a brief history of the sixteen year program. Ms. Applefeld invited Mrs. Mullikin, including her friends and family to attend the Governor's recognition reception and ceremony to be held on November 13 in Annapolis.

The Commissioners congratulated Mrs. Mullikin and presented her with a Certificate of Appreciation, "Valued Volunteer" coffee mug, a County Seal pin, and a gift certificate in honor of her achievements.


Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, reported that Planning and Zoning Administration legal counsel would be contacting William M. Ashley, Rock Hall, relating to the July 2002 District Court order to comply with nuisance/zoning ordinances.


At 8:50 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Newnam, seconded by Commissioner

Beck and made unanimous by Commissioner Fithian to go into executive session with Elmer E. Horsey, Economic Development Director, to discuss personnel matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The executive session adjourned at 8:55 a.m.

At 10:25 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Newnam, seconded by Commissioner Beck, and made unanimous by Commissioner Fithian to go into executive session to discuss personnel matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The executive session adjourned at 10:50 a.m.


As adjoining property owner, the Commissioners received correspondence from Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, advising that at the October 3 Planning Commission meeting review will be made of the variance application submitted by William and Mary Willis to create a parking area for boat storage on their property located at Green Lane in the Fifth Election District. A copy of this correspondence was forwarded to Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works.


As requested by the Maryland Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, the Commissioners approved and signed Proclamation designating the week of September 30, as Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week in Kent County.


Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, appeared to discuss the Lathim House Project. He reported that the strategy to use FY 02 Program Open Space Funds for the Lathim House would not come to fruition since the contractor will not be able to complete the project until late fall. Mr. Troester requested consideration be given to carrying funding to FY 03 budget. The Commissioners concurred.


The Commissioners approved and signed Proclamation recognizing the 80th anniversary of Gillespie's & Son, Inc. and congratulated them in this significant milestone in the local business community.


Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, reported that she attended a Smart Growth meeting where representatives from rural and metropolitan Maryland Counties Planning and Zoning Administrations, conservation agencies collaborated to consider future priorities for Smart Growth initiatives. She advised that there were approximately forty attendees with diverse perspectives.


The County Administrator advised that Carl Burke, Executive Director, Upper Shore Aging, reported that the lowest bid for Senior Center Construction was submitted for the amount of $923,000, $124,990 over the budgeted amount. The Commissioners requested that Mr. Burke to continue to pursue and exhaust all other sources of funding, however, should they not be available, the Commissioners would ensure the project proceed as planned without any modifications.

Later in the day, Mr. Burke confirmed that he is pursuing Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) as well as MDoA Senior Citizens Facility Capital Grant Program.


The Commissioners received the Sheriff's Office 2001 Annual Status Report.

As a result of a September 14 accident, the Sheriff requested approval to purchase a 2003 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor to replace the damaged vehicle. The contract cost for the 2003 police vehicle is $20,253.00. He reported that Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT) will reimburse the County a total of $8,075.00 for the 1997 damaged vehicle( $7375.00), reimbursement for the light bar and striping, ($1200.00), less deductible. Sheriff Price requested $13,378 to fund the balance for a replacement patrol vehicle. Commissioner Fithian stated his approval to purchase a replacement vehicle, however, Commissioner Newnam did not approve the purchase and Commissioner Beck advised he would like to give this request further consideration. This matter will be discussed again next week.

Tim Anderson, representing the NAACP, appeared to discuss Community policing and associated grant awards. Sheriff John Price was also in attendance. Mr. Anderson advised that the community policing grant was accepted in part and denied in part, having the community patrol portion accepted, and the surveillance portion denied. He stated that the community was pleased with the level of patrols, however, the Sheriff's Office did not have the manpower to review the surveillance equipment. Commissioner Newnam stated that he hoped the patrols would not decrease since the creation of NET (Narcotic Enforcement Team) out of the Sheriff's Office. He further stated that he would not approve a grant for additional deputies for community policing since it was apparent that he had more than adequate staff (nineteen deputies) to create his own Narcotics Enforcement Team (to include four of the nineteen deputies). The Sheriff stated that Commissioner Newnam was playing politics. Commissioner Beck inquired of the Sheriff why did he previously say there were not enough officers for community policing yet still terminated his association with the Kent County Narcotics Task Force (which included representatives from the Maryland State Police, Department of Natural Resources Police, Rock Hall Police Department, Chestertown Police Department and State's Attorney).

In light of the questions raised, the Sheriff stated that it appeared to him that some of the Commissioners had a separate agenda than what he intended and left the meeting.

Commissioners Newnam and Beck advised Mr. Anderson of their support for community policing. Commissioner Newnam advised that he would not be supporting additional deputies when the Sheriff terminated his association with the Narcotics Task Force without any discussion with this Board and apparently have surplus deputies for his own Drug Enforcement Team. Mr. Anderson inquired as to the exact funding for the additional deputies. Commissioner Beck reviewed the salary and benefit figures for which the State contribution wanes over three years until the County has to fully fund the deputies, including benefits, uniforms and vehicles.

Commissioner Newnam reiterated his opposition to accepting the grant award and associated costs and stated that if the Sheriff had not terminated his association with the Narcotics Task Force he would have the manpower available without additional burden of costs to the County.


In follow-up from last week, relating to redeeming tax sale properties, the County Administrator advised that Wayne Morris, Director, Water and Wastewater Services expressed interest in one property and he would contact Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, to investigate other possible uses of the remaining properties.


Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, appeared to recommend unused FY 02 revenue from Toal Park for the County match for Scenic Byways Grant and Chesapeake Water Access Improvements. Commissioner Newnam stated that any revenue from Toal Park should be used for further development for the park. Commissioners Beck and Newnam concurred.


The Commissioners received a progress report for the month of August from Bernadette Van Pelt, Tourism, Director.


An application for an amendment to the Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan was received from Lawrence and Associates Developers, LLC seeking sewer service for development, Prestwick Woods, located northwest of Lovers Lane and Quaker Neck Road. A public hearing will be scheduled on this application.


The Commissioners received correspondence from the Maryland Department of Environment, advising that three water appropriation and use permits were issued to Henry Dierker, Jr. using 98,000. 85,000 and 200,000 gallons per day for crop irrigation. For more information inquiries may be directed to Mr. Saeid Kasraei, Program Manager of Water Supply Program, Water Management Administration, 1800 Washington Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21230.

There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, October 1, 2002.


Please contact Joyce Laskey or Janice Fletcher at (410) 778-7435 or by e-mail with any questions or comments.

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